Skyharbor — Sunshine Dust 4/5
Progressive-metal rock band Skyharbor released its new album Sunshine Dust this month after working on it for almost four years.
Skyharbor members from India and the U.S. met over the internet, joining together to tour across the globe, creating a worldwide fan base on the merits of their music. It started off as guitarist Keshav Dhar’s studio project before he was contacted by former lead singer Daniel Tompkins for collaboration. At the same time, Dhar was discussing the possibility of taking his music live with Maryland-based drummer Anup Sastry. From then, changes were made to the composition of the band, welcoming Eric Emery as the new lead singer.
Vocals from Emery, rocking sound from Keshav Dhar and Devesh Dayal on guitar, a balanced tone from bassist Krishna Jhaveri and a strong beat from drummer Aditya Ashok give the audience something to stand on their feet for.
The album starts off with “Signal” which sets the course as it uses the sound of a quickening heartbeat that is cut off suddenly, causing the listener to hold their breath in suspense. Suddenly, listeners are thrown into a high energy beat that shakes them awake, clearly able to understand the lead singer’s pain as his voice contrasts this energy with an almost legato rhythm. This pattern of starting off slow then moving to a tighter sound is a common thread throughout the rest of the songs on the album.
One aspect that came as a surprise was when the high level energy dropped suddenly in the middle of the album, with softer songs like “Ethos” and “Ugly Heart” changing the mood from the beginning of the album, yet still keeping a similar message in the lyrics. Although the style is different, the listener can still glean the album’s original concepts of the death and subsequent rebirth of the speaker in these tracks.
“Dissent” stands out from the rest of the album as it is the only song with an aspect of the screamo genre in it, which brings the slowed pace of the album back to an intense high.
This could be a bit much to handle for first-time listeners, but works well with the overall message of the album.
Sunshine Dust ends with a nice send off with the eponymous track “Sunshine Dust,” a song that begs for forgiveness and a seeming resolution to the anguish of the speaker. It leaves the listener wondering whether the album sees the speaker’s experience as a sunrise, a new chance for change and betterment, or a sunset, the falling of the speaker.
Overall, Sunshine Dust is exhilarating as it takes the listener through the pain of the speaker and connects to their own experiences of pain and rebirth.
The cover art for the album is the perfect way to depict this metaphor as the sun is right in the middle of the window, partially covered by the angled, wooden boards that let light into a room of darkness.